Seeing the Beauty in 2020: What Really Mattered to Us This Year

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No one here is going to debate the fact that 2020 was a tough year. Many of us have faced illness, loss, and challenges we never thought (homeschooling while feeding a baby and attending a Zoom meeting, for example). We asked our staff here at Tinybeans Family Brands to think of what their silver lining was for 2020, and we think you’ll relate to a lot of these. From family bonding to showing up, self-care, and celebrating the little things, read on to see what our staff is grateful for this year and add your voice to the conversation.

We took on a new view of school and saw our children shine…

photo: iStock

“I have loved seeing my youngest son thrive in the distance learning environment when last year he really struggled in school due to his learning differences.”
—Kate L, Bay Area Editor; National Content & Calendar Manager

“My elder daughter got to be on her college campus and have mask-to-mask classes this fall! It was a different freshman experience than she expected but she was happy that she got to go.”
—Kim, Advertising Sales Director 

“This year, because of distance learning, I have been able to be a fly-on-the-wall to hear my son interacting with his peers. I’ve heard him stepping up to lead discussions, keep kids on track, ask questions, crack jokes, and help his classmates. As a parent, you always hope your kid is doing the right thing when you aren’t around and it’s nice to get a sneak-peek that affirms this.”
—Amber, Managing Editor 

“When I reflect back on these past few months, one of the most impactful experiences I encountered, was actually witnessing that my son has turned into a mature, hard-working professional! He graduated college 1 1/2 years ago, and has been living and working in NYC. He came home to live with us in March and has been working remotely from our home these last few months. His bedroom and my office share a wall, and I absolutely love hearing him on his work calls with clients and colleagues. Sometimes, I have to pinch myself that this is my son—I am so proud to hear him speak with a sense of professionalism and witness his strong work ethic as a mature young man!”
— Kathy, Bump & Baby, NYC & DC Ad Director

We learned the importance of self-care and the beauty in the mundane…

photo: iStock

“2020 has taught me a lot about how I hold myself accountable for my own happiness—daily exercise, creating a work-life balance, and time for reflection and gratitude are now things I'm actively working on and I'm much happier because of it!”
—Sarah, Senior Product Designer

“I've realized I don't need so much ‘stuff’ in my life; pricey makeup, expensive workouts, clothes I never wear, highlights every six weeks...I colored my own hair for the first time in two decades and it came out pretty darn good.” 
— Jamie, Copywriter

“2020 made me realize how important it is to surround yourself with people you love/care about the most. Especially when times get tough!”
—Nora, Partnership Marketing Coordinator

“Getting COVID allowed me to snuggle with my sick daughter for 10 nights straight and not worry about how I was going to get her back into her own bed.”
—Julie G., NY Sales Director  

“I've learned to never again take the fact that I can walk into a grocery store and get what I need, for granted.”
—Karly, Pinterest Editor 

We saw people step up and strengthened our community bonds, in spite of distance…

photo: iStock

“During this Thanksgiving season, our 8th-grade students and families showed up for critically poor families, who needed some extra help this holiday season. A single father with seven minors who lives in a one-bedroom apartment, a mother with two kids who suffered through domestic abuse and is now starting a new life during a pandemic...heartbreaking.  When the students and the parents came together to provide and show up for these families in need, it was truly beautiful and inspiring. Baskets and boxes of food, generous grocery gift cards and cash donations, and beautifully handmade cards were received by families overcome with emotions that there are still good in people in spite of what is happening in the world."
—Engelynne, SoCal Account Director

The best part of 2020 for my family has been the ‘we're all in this together’ community vibe and more intentional effort everyone is making to stay connected especially since school remains remote for us. From starting virtual book clubs to distanced soccer practices to creating birthday video montages to bike rides on San Francisco's slower streets (we happen to live on one!), it feels like we've formed new or closer bonds with so many people.”
—Julie S., NorCal National & SF Account Director

We learned new skills and discovered new places in our own backyard…

“I've never been much of a baker, but I started making sourdough this year! I've made quite a few loaves of bread, some very fluffy pancakes and a delicious pizza crust.”
—Kenzie, Director of Partnership Marketing Solutions

“I found out that I love plants and I started to grow them!”
—Bing, Head of Finance 

“The extra time together as a family was actually really great (most of the time); oh and I think I might be qualified as a sommelier now!"
—Tracy, Ad Sales Director, Northwest

"My husband and I actually fought less this year—with less on our calendars and rushing around to the latest activity. My kids are more adaptable than I ever could have imagined—happily wearing masks wherever they went. And finally, I started stand-up paddleboarding which has become a fun new hobby!”
—Oliva, Ad Sales Director, Southwest

“We found out that dad is a better cook than now he gets to cook dinner...a lot! A lot more books have been read and naps have been taken. Schooling at home, I learned that my kid is the one in class who raises his hand and says ‘Is this going to be on the test?' Not gonna lie, I don't miss packing lunches in the mornings. I think we have become more creative/resourceful when faced with shortages of products or restrictions of activities.Finally took down the old shelves, cleaned up the dust bunnies/spider webs, and set up the new shelves. Discovered the Derby Cake (Mazzetti's Bakery, Pacifica, CA). My life is now complete. Company merger and got to meet so many new, fabulous co-workers!"
—Marie S., Staff Accountant

“Since our travel and social happenings have been curtailed, it has given my very busy, very on-the-go family a chance to appreciate our house and home. We finished our treehouse, we've started doing the desperately needed updates, and we have discovered that we all love board games—a lot. Oh, and we've watched almost every classic '80s movie known to mankind.” 
—Gabby, Senior National Editor 

“My wife and I explored New York City like never before (in a safe and socially distanced sort of way)! We used the NYC ferry boats to travel around the five boroughs, and explored so many new spots including: Roosevelt Island, Governors Island, Astoria, Bay Ridge, Staten Island, The Rockaways, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Battery Park, and all of Central Park."
—Marshall,  Senior Director, Client Success and Revenue Operations

2020 has given us a whole lot of family togetherness and proof that life goes on…

photo: iStock

“I had my second son, Parker, right before lockdown. Seeing him grow from a fragile NICU infant to an army crawling, smiley baby who adores everything his big brother does has easily been the best thing of 2020.”
—Erin, Head of Editorial

“My wife and I, along with our four boys are closer than ever before, spending so many wonderful meals together ‘breaking bread.’ Also several of the boys commented on how this past summer was the best ever!”
—Eddie, CEO 

"My youngest finally learned to ride a bike, we now really enjoy our family bike rides and exploring our neighborhood. I’ve realized how much I love being around my husband. In a time like quarantine, this could've gone either way! And, my kids do a pretty great job of hanging out with each other and it's beautiful to see how much they genuinely love each other."  
—Laura, Email Marketing Manager

“After my maternity leave ended for my third kid in the fall of 2019 I cried (and I'm not a crier). I was so upset that as a working mom that I would never get that time back with my kids; that real 1:1 (or in this case 1:3)  time where I devoted all my energy to crafts, snuggles, city adventures, or wherever the day took us. Well, clearly the joke was on me since I don't think we've ever spent as much time together as a family as we have in 2020. While the days are long and trying to juggle it all is trying, I really do enjoy working from home and being there every night for dinner and bedtime—something as a working mom I felt like I missed out on for years.”
—Megan, Head of Product Growth 

“My silver lining makes me simultaneously joyous and a little guilty. My college and senior-year-in-high school kids were less than excited to have their normal lives (mostly spent away from us) interrupted while we were working remotely, which meant we were all home. It was the longest and most wonderful stretch of the whole family being together in our 21-year parenting journey. And as it turns out, I didn't need to feel guilty about being happy about it. Our kids also appreciated the time with each other and us. It was a silver lining with whipped cream, sprinkles and a cherry on the top.”
—Nina, Chief Revenue Officer 

“My in-laws ‘escaped’ Manhattan the second week of March to hunker down with us in the Midwest...and ended up staying through mid-June. There were ups and downs but they got to spend three months with our two kids under five and I'm so glad they had a chance to see them grow and change (especially the 1 year old!)."
—Jen S., Head of National Sales 

“While I did have to start cooking dinner every night, we actually get to eat as a family every night. We have become much more mindful about wasting things, especially food. Weekends feel longer because we spend quality time as a family instead of racing around to birthday parties, sports practices/games, etc.”
—Grady, Head of Partnership Marketing

“This year, I welcomed a new baby, a new job, and a new house—a 2020 hat trick.”
—Mark, Chief Technology Officer 

“We're expecting a new addition in 2021!”
—Jen W., Senior. Head of  Audience Development


Want to share your silver lining for this year? Send it to amber at with the subject line Silver Lining and we’ll add to this story.

—Amber Guetebier and Team Tinybeans/Red Tricycle


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